APARTHEID






Did you know that we had apartheid in the United States ofAmerica? Yes we did.

In 1954 and 1955 I lived in Atlanta, Georgia for 2 years. I was 10and 11. I could not understand why there were white and brown waterfountains, white and brown bathroom doors and it really bothered methat I had to sit in the front of the bus. When I was thirsty I drankfrom the closest water fountain. When I had to go to the bathroom Iwent to the closest men's room. Before then I lived in St. Louis,Missouri.

My best friend was a Black kid that lived in a one room stonehouse with dirt floors, no running water and a pot belly stove in themiddle for cooking and heat. The house was on the grounds of ajudge's boarding stables and his parents were the care takers. Theyate mostly what they raised. The had a garden, a pig and a cow forfood. I rode the horses and a bull calf. The bull calf would get thebest of me most of the time. I would ask his mother if he could cometo my house and she would always say no. She said it would causeproblems with my neighbors.

I was on a bus on the line between black and white. An old blacklady got on the bus and did not have a place to sit. Since my placewas back by the back of the bus I started to get up and give her myseat. She said no and the red neck next to me said he would kick myass if I got up.

Atlanta was the starting point of me thinking my race was full ofshit.

It may not been as bad as South Africa's apartheid but it wasclose. I have friends who saw their relatives hang because they wereblack and in the wrong place at the wrong time.

When I got married the second time it was to a black woman. Ourwedding was in her parent's back yard. As the service was starting alady was coming up the driveway and saw me. She put the wedding giftdown on the driveway and left. I found out later that she saw herfather hung by the Klan.

Things still have a long way to go. Schools are funded based onwealth. The districts with the higher taxes get more money. It ismore income than race now. If your black it is still harder to get ajob. you can't lie about the color of your skin but if you are lightskin black you can make it easier that if it were dark.

It has been said that 500 years from now there will be one race.No more prejudice? I think there will still be prejudice based onskin color because there will still be many colors.

When my son was five his skin color was lighter than mine. He camehome from school and said, "MaMa, am I black or am I white?"She said, "You are black." He put his arm next to mine andsaid,"If I am black, then Daddy is black." We are allhuman. We are all from the same beginning. We are all cousins.

Have you noticed that the race questions changed with the lastCensus. They added Hispanic as a race and said no matter what raceyou are if you are Hispanic check Hispanic. Why? To lower the numberof blacks in the country. Hispanic is ethnic not racial and sincemany Hispanics are black the black numbers decrease and our newminority increases

Why can't we just all be human beings?
Forget this race crapand look at each other as humans. "Why can't we all just getalong?" as another King said.

Sadly apartheid is back on steroids.

© Copyright 2001 Lee W. Gaylord

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